NHL Playoff Death Watch: Huge night for Leafs, Wings and Capitals
Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ loss on Rick Nash Appreciation Night dropped them down to the second wild card in the East again.
By the end of Saturday night, they could be on the outside looking in.
The Detroit Red Wings’ game in-hand on Columbus is tonight at the Minnesota Wild. A victory, and the Wings will fly over the Jackets into the final wild card spot, with both team having 12 games remaining.
If the Wings lose in regulation or overtime, the Washington Capitals can hop into the last wild card with 79 points with a win over San Jose – although both Columbus and Detroit will have two games in-hand.
Here are the current standings. The Death Watch tracks the final Wild Card spot and the teams that are chasing it. Their “tragic number” is the number of points gained by the final wild card team or lost by the team chasing it.
All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.
Here’s the Eastern Conference picture:
Place/ Pts./ROW (Games Remaining)
% Chance 1st Wild Card
% Chance of 2nd Wild Card B
Toronto Maple Leafs
WILD CARD 1/80/27 (6H/5A)
Columbus Blue Jackets
WILD CARD 2/78/31 (6H/6A)
Detroit Red Wings
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
The Rangers face the Devils tonight in a critical game for both teams, as Jersey fights for its playoff life and the Rangers seek to leave the wild card bubble and try to pry home ice away from the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers host St. Louis on Saturday.
Montreal and Toronto play a game with plenty on the line. The Leafs could close within one point of the Habs for third in the Atlantic, which means a first-round battle against Tampa Bay rather than either Boston or Pittsburgh.
The Lightning are at the Penguins. Boston is at Phoenix, after clinching a playoff spot last night.
Meanwhile in the Western Conference:
Place/Record/Pts. (Games Remaining)
% Chance Wild Card A
% Chance of Wild Card B
WILD CARD 1/83/29 (6H/6A)
WILD CARD 2/79/29 (6H/6A)
The Wild host Detroit while the Coyotes host the Bruins. Both West wild card teams have 12 games left.
The Dallas Stars have a game in-hand on both and host the Ottawa Senators tonight, needing a win after losing three games on an Eastern road trip.
A regulation loss for the Oilers to Calgary would eliminate them from postseason contention, as would any combination of two points gained by the Coyotes and lost by Edmonton tonight.